TYF Analyzes the 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

Every October, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces a list of nominees for induction. This year’s induction list featured 19 names, the most since 1990.

As with last year, members of our music staff were keen to give their thoughts on the nominees and who they think are the most likely to get in this year. Music editor Ryan Gibbs and music writers Jon Winkler, Matt Rice and Reagan Harrison engaged in a roundtable chat about the individual nominees and what they think about the Hall of Fame as a whole.

Opening thoughts

Ryan Gibbs: What is, in general, your opinion on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Jon Winkler: They have a problem, to put it lightly. They need to acknowledge more metal bands and, like the Oscars, need to bring in younger people on their board for bands.

Ryan Gibbs: I in general think the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is something that should exist. The problem is that it’s so exclusive. I think it would better if they had 7-10 inductees from a 19 nominee  list instead of just five. There’s also a tendency for some people to think that one genre or another, or one artist or another does not “belong” in the Hall of Fame, which is a fallacy.

Matt Rice: My opinion is basically the same, although the nominees list this year is a major improvement on last year’s.

Reagan Harrison: I think they do a good job acknowledging the artists they should be – they’ve been making decent moves to include a variety of artists recently.

Matt Rice: I wonder why it’s so exclusive. Wouldn’t it make more sense to put a bunch of artists in the hall every year?


Jon Winkler: I think since it’s become such a business now, they want to stretch it out as long as they can.

Ryan Gibbs: Well in 2001, they inducted 8 artists, all of them slam dunk inductions. I think you can make an equally cool class out of this year’s if you had eight.

Matt Rice: Sure, but new artists are eligible every year. They’ll never run out as long as rock and roll exists.

Ryan Gibbs: Right Matt, and the logjam is only going to get bigger. This year Pearl Jam will get in one the first ballot. That means only four other artists will be inducted.


Matt Rice: Which means people of color and women will continue to be excluded.

Ryan Gibbs: Next year, there are two newly eligible artists that will get in on the first try: Beck and Radiohead. That means only three others would get in if that doesn’t change. And that’s not fair to Beck and Radiohead, or indeed the rest of whatever that ballot looks like.

Jon Winkler: They need to be more inclusive or make HOFs for R&B and Rap or something.

Matt Rice: Another thing is, should they change the name to the Popular Music Hall of Fame? That could help with making it more inclusive and taking away some of the rock snobbery. Especially since, every year, there seems to be a discussion of whether hip-hop, disco, and pop artists belong in the Hall.


Reagan Harrison: Rock has evolved so much so they should be more inclusive.

Jon Winkler: Right, that’s why they need younger people or people with more diverse musical background on their board at least.

Reagan Harrison: Our definition of “rock and roll” is completely different than 50 years ago.

Jon Winkler: Exactly, Reagan.

Ryan Gibbs: Questlove and Tom Morello are on the Rock Hall board now, and boy can you tell from this class. Speaking of which,  What are your thoughts on this year’s nominees as a whole?

Matt Rice: I like the diversity. I like the Michigan representation with MC5.

Reagan Harrison: Interesting (in a good way) is the first adjective that comes to mind.

Jon Winkler: Good variety this year.

Matt Rice: Joe Tex is surprising, especially since he’s been nominated a few times.

Ryan Gibbs: Yeah I think Joe Tex’s problem might be that, as deserving as he is, there are plenty of voters who have no idea who he is.

Reagan Harrison: And Joe Tex is awesome honestly.


Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Previous nominations: 0
Essential songs: Pay to Cum” (1980), “Banned in DC” (1982),  “Sailin’ On” (1983), “I Against I” (1986)

Jon Winkler: Bad Brains are a great choice. Definitely a good salute to punk. Definitely opens up opportunities for other hardcore bands to go in.

Ryan Gibbs: I was not expecting a DC hardcore band to ever get nominated. It feels like a style of music that the Hall would completely ignore. But I’m glad to see it get noticed.

Reagan Harrison: Love D.C. bands and they’re one of them!

Matt Rice: Are they seriously the first D.C. punk band to get nominated?

Ryan Gibbs: Yes, Fugazi and – outside of D.C., Black Flag –  have never been nominated for instance.

Matt Rice: Ugh. Well, the fact that they finally got there gives me hope for riot grrrl.

Ryan Gibbs: There are almost no American punk bands in the Hall at all either. the Ramones and Patti Smith are in, then you have some borderline cases like Talking Heads, The Stooges and Blondie, but other than that…the Beastie Boys, technically?

Reagan Harrison: It’s definitely a genre underrepresented.

Ryan Gibbs: Bad Brains had a massive influence on hardcore music, they were virtousos, brought a completely different style to punk…but I think their chances at induction are minimal.

Jon Winkler: Inducting them would be the right thing to do.

Reagan Harrison: I agree.

Matt Rice: Bad Brains, Rock for Light, and I Against I are all very good albums. But people often forget about the homophobic thing.

Ryan Gibbs: Oh yeah, that’s right. Daryll Jenifer apologized for some of the lyrics on Quickness, but it’s still very difficult to listen to that record.

Matt Rice: Yup. And there’s tons of artists that have homophobic histories, or even have homophobia attached to their best work (Eminem, Beastie Boys). But I think people overlook it with Bad Brains because it was on an album that hasn’t really been analyzed much.

Ryan Gibbs: Bad Brains, if inducted would be an interesting choice. It would certainly skew the perception a lot of people have that the Rock Hall is some sort of popularity or success award.

Jon Winkler: Yeah, I think it would inspire a lot of acknowledgement of punk as a legitimate part of rock history.


Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Photo credit: Jeff Albertson

Previous nominations: 1
Essential songs:Just What I Needed” (1978), “My Best Friend’s Girl” (1978), “Shake It Up” (1981), “You Might Think” (1984)

Jon Winkler: Yes. Support pop rock. The Cars are great and very underrated

Matt Rice: They should be in.

Jon Winkler: They were never huge superstars but they influenced a lot of people and had a solid string of hits

Reagan Harrison: Literally love them so much, especially “Shake It Up”

Ryan Gibbs: New wave and power pop are two more genres who the Hall is lacking, and they could tick both boxes with The Cars

Jon Winkler: That first album is iconic. It’s like if Talking Heads wanted to make hit records

Ryan Gibbs: The Cars were nominated last year, and I honestly expected them to get in instead of the Steve Miller Band. I don’t think they’ll be passed on this year.

Matt Rice: I like The Cars a lot, and I hope their induction paves the way for Fountains of Wayne to one day make it in.

Jon Winkler: Weezer too

Ryan Gibbs: They seem  like the kind of band that Hall voters would definitely select.

Jon Winkler: I think a lot of people have a soft spot for them.

Reagan Harrison: Yeah they do, and I put them on par with the Steve Miller Band.

Ryan Gibbs: I bet the Hall wish The Cars got in over Steve Miller, considering what he said about them last year. 

Jon Winkler: Iif The Cars go in, they should have Rivers Cuomo induct them

Matt Rice: Speaking of power pop, what’s the chance of Buzzcocks and The Undertones ever making it in?

Ryan Gibbs: Undertones? Never under this system. Out of popular acts in the UK that are only cult groups in the US, they can’t even induct The Jam. Buzzcocks are more likely.

Jon Winkler: Lord knows they should though

Ryan Gibbs: The Cars had a great career, they were stylistically unique and even though it feels like the Hall isn’t sure what to do with new wave, they’re a safe, classic rock-radio approved pick. That shouldn’t go against them though, I’d love to see them in over a few acts this year

Jon Winkler: They are one of the sounds that crafted 80s new wave.

Reagan Harrison: It’s definitely a group that anyone could get behind, even if they don’t particularly love them.

Ryan Gibbs: Yeah, that they got nominated twice in a row bodes well for their eventual chances

Reagan Harrison: I can’t imagine they’ll sit on the list very long.

Ryan Gibbs: Especially with such a well-liked figure like Ric Ocasek in their lineup. Well, well-liked by everyone except for Car Seat Headrest I bet.

Matt Rice: Haha.

Ryan Gibbs: Didn’t you ask Will Toledo about that?

Matt Rice: Yeah. He said that he’d avoided sampling because he thought it was less legally risking if you just covered or took bits out of other people’s songs. In other interviews, he’s said he likes the new version of the song better anyway.

Ryan Gibbs: Still, Matador had to destroy all of those albums over a single line

Matt Rice: Yeah, apparently it was the first recall in Matador’s history.

Ryan Gibbs: Between Bad Brains and Ocasek we keep ending these on a negative note.

Jon Winkler: Well let’s end with the positive hope that The Cars go in. They and Bad Brains deserve to go in for their influence alone.


Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Photo credit: Gordon Monro

Previous nominations: 2 (once with Rufus)
Essential songs: Tell Me Something Good” (with Rufus) (1974), “I’m Every Woman” (1978), “Ain’t Nobody” (with Rufus) (1983), “I Feel For You” (1984)

Jon Winkler: Chaka Khan is a strong influence on female R&B.

Ryan Gibbs: Questlove has been pulling for her ever since he got on the nomination committee.

Reagan Harrison: Surprised she was in the list, but very happy she is. Super talented and offers them to opportunity to expand to new genres.

Jon Winkler: Speaking of new wave, some of her work helped merge R&B with new wave.

Ryan Gibbs: She’s been nominated twice before. Once as a member of Rufus & Chaka Khan, and then last year as a solo artist. I think it’s a good choice to nominate Chaka as a solo artist, but I’d love Rufus to be recognized in some way. They were a great band.

Jon Winkler: Rufus has done some good production work.

Matt Rice: Yup. Would there be a way to nominate Rufus and Chaka Khan, to include both her work with the band and her solo stuff?

Jon Winkler: But Chaka Kahn would be good to support the advancement of R&B over the years.

Ryan Gibbs: Dunno. You’d have the same discussion if this were Richard Thompson up: Would he go in solo, or with Linda? I bet that’s why he’s never been nominated before.


Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Previous nominations: 10
Essential songs: Dance, Dance, Dance” (1977), “Le Freak” (1978), “I Want Your Love” (1978), “Good Times” (1979)

Matt Rice: My top choice.

Jon Winkler: Yes yes yes yes. For “Le Freak” alone, yes.

Matt Rice: And “Good Times.”

Jon Winkler: Good Times is one of the pillars of hip hop.

Ryan Gibbs: They’ve been nominated a record 11 times. They’re incredibly worthy. But why do you think they keep being passed over?

Matt Rice: Anti-disco nonsense. But I’d think Chic would be disco’s biggest contender.

Jon Winkler: If they never let Chic in, they should at least acknowledge Nile Rodgers somehow.

Reagan Harrison: Yes, disco. People really dislike it…

Ryan Gibbs: I agree. People have an ax to grind with disco. Which is a shame.

Matt Rice: They were a great album band, which should at least give them a little rockist cred.

Jon Winkler: Chic had an incredible sound. Super thick and glossy production where you can hear all the essential elements of their records.

Ryan Gibbs: And Nile Rodgers has all these connections. I really think they should have gotten in when the Daft Punk album was released…wow, three years ago.

Matt Rice: Maybe in 50 years, Sister Sledge can have a shot too.

Ryan Gibbs: I’d love it if Chic got inducted, I’m just not sure if this will be the year they are. I don’t see a real push to finally get them in like there should be

Matt Rice: Which is funny, since it seems like it becomes a topic of discussion every year.

Jon Winkler: What’s the best Chic deep cut?

Matt Rice:26” is a personal favorite.

Reagan Harrison: Some bands, Chic included, just need to be inducted. Don’t think there’s a limit to how many times you can be nominated, but there’s a point where it gets old. I just feel bad for the band.

Ryan Gibbs: Yeah there’s no Baseball Hall of Fame type stuff here. They can be nominated until they get in.


Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Photo credit: Carl Studna

Previous nominations: 0
Essential songs:
Just Can’t Get Enough” (1981), “Everything Counts” (1983), “Personal Jesus” (1989), “Enjoy the Silence” (1990)

Matt Rice: I’m mostly indifferent towards them.

Ryan Gibbs: Really? They’re one of my favorites on this whole list. It’s interesting seeing them here over another nomination for The Cure, though

Reagan Harrison: Yeah, The Cure, that’s a good point. I could jam out to them for days, which for me, a band that doesn’t get old after being on repeat for a week is a winner.

Jon Winkler: The Cure should have been in before them.

Ryan Gibbs: I think they’re a good choice for a new wave band. After all these years of synthesizer bands being ignored by the Hall, you can’t go wrong with one of the biggest.

Jon Winkler: But Depeche are prime staples of new wave and showed that it wasn’t all bright synths.

Ryan Gibbs: They’re one of the few bands of their era and genre whose new albums still sell incredibly well.

Jon Winkler: And they still make good albums! They can work with synths, dark European house sounds and even acoustic guitar. See “Dream On” for example

Ryan Gibbs: I also don’t think they have a good shot because voters who would vote for them will think “hey, where’s The Cure?” and not vote for them. Maybe The Cure will get a good push next year as a result.

Reagan Harrison: We can hope!

Jon Winkler: But anyway, Depeche really helped new wave shift into the direction alternative could go. Their lyrics are almost early emo.

Ryan Gibbs: One of the few examples where a band got darker and darker and got increasingly more popular. At their peak Depeche Mode were selling out huge stadiums

Jon Winkler: Well on the strength of an album like Violator, they deserved to. That’s their finest moment IMO. Depeche Mode often remind me of what Joy Division could’ve evolved into if Ian Curtis stayed alive.

Reagan Harrison: Don’t ask my why, but their music video for “Personal Jesus” makes me laugh (maybe it’s the cheesiness and awkward zoom ins).

Jon Winkler: Yeah, it is a little corny.

Ryan Gibbs: Although you can tell Anton Corbijn directed it.

Go to the next page for our thoughts on Electric Light Orchestra, Journey and more


Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Previous nominations: 0
Essential songs:
10538 Overture” (1972), “Livin’ Thing” (1976), “Mr. Blue Sky” (1977), “Don’t Bring Me Down” (1979)

Matt Rice: They’re fine.

Jon Winkler: Basically the sound of The Beatles if Paul was the sole leader and Artistic voice of the band. But they’re occasionally corny and not entirely essential. Though they have good songs.

Ryan Gibbs: ELO are another one of my favorite bands on the nomination list.

Matt Rice: I wish The Move was getting in, since “Do Ya” is one of my favorite songs.

Jon Winkler: Jeff Lynne is a helluva producer.

Reagan Harrison: Definitely one of the more well-known bands, which people would typically think would be inducted.

Jon Winkler: They’ve very beloved of the AOR generation.

Ryan Gibbs: I have no idea what took them so long. Out of all of the AOR bands, they’ve always seemed to be one of the most respected. Especially Jeff Lynne.

Jon Winkler: He’s like Nile Rodgers, he has all the right connections.

Ryan Gibbs: He’s the only Travelling Wilbury not in the Hall yet. I think they have a good shot of getting in.

Jon Winkler: Right.

Ryan Gibbs: Of note:, the Rock Hall announced the members who would be inducted in advance this year for the first time ever, and only four people will be inducted if ELO gets in: Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan, Richard Tandy and Roy Wood. Tellingly, none of the string musicians that made ELO’s sound so unique

Jon Winkler: Probably a safe choice for the inductees.

Reagan Harrison: I think they’re a good contender.

Ryan Gibbs: Yeah, I think they’re a likely inductee.

Jon Winkler: I bet Tom Petty will induct then.


Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Previous nominations: 0
Essential songs: Jane Says” (1988), “Mountain Song” (1988), “Stop!” (1990), “Been Caught Stealing” (1990)

Jon Winkler: Hugely influential, especially if the Hall wants to acknowledge alternative.

Reagan Harrison: Super stoked about this.  Apparently Perry Farrell learned about their nomination from Dave Grohl.

Jon Winkler: They’re incredible live, made two iconic records, and expanded what ’80s rock could be.

Matt Rice: I like them a lot. I saw them live at Lollapalooza 2009. But I haven’t listened to them much in recent years.

Jon Winkler: I saw them live with Band of Skulls, Perry Farrell is an awesome frontman.

Reagan Harrison: They must be cool live.

Jon Winkler: They’re fine in recent years, good songs but wishy-washy albums.

Ryan Gibbs: I have no idea of their chances this year. Sometimes it seems that voters vote by quota: one of this kind of artist, one of that kind of artist. Pearl Jam being such a foregone conclusion probably hurts Jane’s Addiction’s chances a little.

Jon Winkler: Jane’s was the fun side of alt rock. At least musically because they have some dark lyrics. But “Been Caught Stealing” is hilarious.

Matt Rice: “Jane Says” is a devastating song.

Jon Winkler: It is. “Mountain Song” is sad too.

Matt Rice: I listened to “Mountain Song” for the first time in a while today and the bassline made me think of “I Will Possess Your Heart.”

Jon Winkler: Was Dave Navarro included when the Chili Peppers were inducted? I don’t think he was

Ryan Gibbs: He was not, but Josh Klinghoffer was and he’s the youngest ever living inductee to the Hall. I found that very strange. Least of all because a former member of Warpaint is now in the Hall, but also it felt like an induction for future endeavors. He’d just done I’m With You with them at that point and it wasn’t a huge album.

Jon Winkler: Yeah but I guess it’s whatever the trio wants. They probably barely remember when Navarro was in the band

Ryan Gibbs: Allegedly, Navarro wasn’t included because the Peppers hoped he’d get in with Jane’s Addiction.. Although double-inductions are a thing. He could have absolutely go in with the Peppers.

Jon Winkler: I think he should’ve. His guitar work was great with them. It’s not his fault that One Hot Minute wasn’t great

Ryan Gibbs: With Jane’s Addiction, it’s always interesting to see bands with such small, but highly influential, discographies be nominated. And they seemed so different from everything else coming out of LA at the time.

Jon Winkler: True.

Ryan Gibbs: Thoughts on them getting in?

Reagan Harrison: Hmmm this one’s a toughie…maybe?

Jon Winkler: I think they have a good shot.

Ryan Gibbs: I just don’t see them inducting two 90s alt rock bands in one year.



Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Previous nominations: 1
Essential songs:Nasty” (1986), “Rhythm Nation” (1989), ‘Escapade” (1989), “That’s the Way Love Goes” (1993)

Jon Winkler: Is this an obvious one?

Ryan Gibbs: In a perfect world, yes, but she didn’t get in last year either.

Reagan Harrison: I mean, I think she’s definitely worthy, It’s only the matter of whether she is voted for.

Jon Winkler: Yeah it all depends on if they vote her in.

Ryan Gibbs: She’s one of the most deserving artists on the whole ballot. She should have been in years ago, not waiting to get in on just her second nomination in 2017.

Jon Winkler: I think what makes her special is that she got to make some sonically thick records and was much more comfortable working with the times. She could handle both hard hitting and smooth R&B.

Ryan Gibbs: Rhythm Nation 1814 is one of the best R&B albums of the 80s, a decade with no shortage of great R&B albums.

Jon Winkler: It’s amazing that she had hits in the 2000s, something a certain relative did not.

Ryan Gibbs: And big ones people remember.

Jon Winkler: And that recent album Unbreakable was pretty good too.

Ryan Gibbs: It’s her best since The Velvet Rope.

Jon Winkler: Who would induct her? Imagine if they got Beyoncé to do it? I bet she would.

Reagan Harrison: That would be the best.

Ryan Gibbs: It’s gotta be Beyonce. If not her then Jimmy Jam and Teddy Riley.

Jon Winkler: I’d say she set a gold standard for modern female driven R&B stars.

Ryan Gibbs: Definitely.

Matt Rice: My thoughts on Janet were mostly the same as last year. Love her, but I still haven’t explored her stuff as much as I should.


Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Previous nominations: 3
Essential songs:Must of Got Lost” (1974), “Love Stinks” (1980), “Centerfold” (1981), “Freeze Frame” (1981)

Jon Winkler: Great live act. Saw them open for Aerosmith 6 years ago and they were awesome. At Fenway no less.  And Peter Wolf is an awesome frontman.

Ryan Gibbs: Their induction kind of feels like when the Baseball Hall of Fame inducts a utility journeymen. Are they on the ballot for their skill or influence or criteria or for how hard they worked?

Jon Winkler: I’d say their skill and work ethic.

Ryan Gibbs: I’ll get this out of the way now: The J Geils Band are my least favorite artist on the ballot and I’m a little annoyed they’ve been nominated again

Jon Winkler: They’ve got a good name with Aerosmith, The Stones, Eric Clapton etc.

Ryan Gibbs: I don’t think they had a standout career the way other artists of their era that aren’t here did.

Jon Winkler: No, of course not.

Ryan Gibbs: As for their chances, who knows? I mean, I didn’t think Steve Miller had a chance last year and he’s more or less in the same boat as J Geils Band are

Jon Winkler: Well, Steve Miller was more well known than J. Geils. I’d love to see J. Geils, in but I doubt it.

Ryan Gibbs: Interestingly, J. Geils is apparently no longer a performing member of the J. Geils Band. Some sort of internal dispute. I bet no one even knows that happened.

Jon Winkler: Yeah J. Geils wanted to go on the road without Peter Wolf (which is dumb as hell) and Peter sued J. Geils. So now J. is not with them but Wolf still is.

Reagan Harrison: How ironic.

Ryan Gibbs: The Hall loves reunions. They got one this year when Bun E. Carlos played with Cheap Trick for the first time in years. Maybe they’re betting on that with J. Geils.

Jon Winkler: People should check out earlier J. Geils.

Ryan Gibbs: Anything specific?

Jon Winkler: Blow Your Face Out: Live is a fantastic live album.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Photo credit: Heinrich Klaffs. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Previous nominations: 0
Essential songs:
We Shall Overcome” (1965), “Love is Just a Four Letter Word” (1969), “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” (1971), “Diamonds and Rust” (1975)

Reagan Harrison: Not a huge fan. Just meh from me.

Jon Winkler: Sorry don’t know that much about her. I know she’s had a strong songwriting influence.

Ryan Gibbs: Baez is a solid choice for a folk artist, I just don’t know if she has a good chance at induction this year with all the other names on here. And there might be a lot of voters who think she’s not “rock” enough to be in the Rock Hall.

Matt Rice: Joan Baez is a weird choice. On one hand, she’s pretty forgettable, but her importance in a very HOF-friendly scene means she should have been inducted a lot earlier.

Reagan Harrison: In my opinion, it might come down to whether her songs were memorable enough for.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Previous nominations: 4
Essential songs:Hold What You’ve Got” (1964), “Skinny Legs and All” (1967), “I  Gotcha” (1972), “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More” (1977)

Matt Rice: Joe Tex is great.

Ryan Gibbs: There are a lot of artists like Tex who are incredibly deserving, but don’t have the mainstream recognition to get them in a Hall that only inducts five acts a year. He’s certainly someone that Hall of Fame watchers have wanted to return to the ballot for years now

Matt Rice: Yeah. He wasn’t a master like Otis or Sam Cooke, and he also never had a song as major as “When a Man Loves a Woman.”

Reagan Harrison: His Southern roots really make him different from the rest

Matt Rice: He just had a good, solid career, but there have been so many of those in rock history.

Ryan Gibbs: It’s good to see an R&B act on here in any case. Particularly one that’s been on the ballot before

Jon Winkler: He’s got a lot of personality in his voice

Ryan Gibbs: And there are certainly less deserving acts that are in already. I’d like to see him get in, finally.


Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Previous nominations: 0
Essential songs:Any Way You Want It” (1980), “Don’t Stop Believin’” (1981), “Open Arms” (1982), “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” (1983)

Jon Winkler: I’d say yes for them

Ryan Gibbs: As huge as they were, I always assumed they were the kind of band that the Hall would never nominate. They have a good possibility of being this year’s populist inductee, which is what I felt Kiss, Rush and Chicago all were.

Matt Rice: I usually find Journey unlistenable.

Ryan Gibbs: They were kind of critical pinatas for most of their career. They’ve definitely had a bit of a resurgence, but I don’t know if they’re reputation has been rehabilitated with a lot of the people who would vote for them.

Jon Winkler: So we’re Kiss but they got in.

Ryan Gibbs: Yes, that’s a good point. Thoughts on their chances?

Jon Winkler: As popular and beloved as they are, I’d doubt it.

Matt Rice: Like I said, I can’t stand Journey. I like Steve Perry on “We Are the World.”

Reagan Harrison: Journey should definitely be up there. In fact I’m a little surprised they aren’t there sooner. Got to admit they’re a favorite of mine. Escape is sort of an iconic album in regards to 80’s rock.

Want to know our thoughts on Pearl Jam and Tupac, and who we’d pick if we had a ballot? Read on to page three!


Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Previous nominations: 3
Essential songs:Autobahn” (1975), “Trans-Europe Express” (1977), “The Robots” (1978), “The Model” (1978)

Jon Winkler: I guess they deserve it for their influence?

Matt Rice: They should have been in years ago.

Ryan Gibbs: considering EDM is the biggest genre right now and they’re the forebearers of most electronic pop music, this is as good a time as any for them to get in. If I had a ballot, they’d have my vote, no question.

Reagan Harrison: Definitely an opportune moment for them right now; not sure if they’d get in as easily in say 5 or 10 years.

Matt Rice: Have any German artists made it in yet?

Ryan Gibbs: No. In fact, if they were inducted, they’d be the first artist who recorded much of their music in a language other than English.

Reagan Harrison: I wonder how many artists are in the hall that are not U.S. based

Ryan Gibbs: Most of them are from the US, UK, Ireland or Canada. The only exceptions to that right now are Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, ABBA and AC/DC. If you want to get into individual band members or leaders, just off the top of my head, you got Grandmaster Flash, Freddie Mercury and Carlos Santana. That’s more or less it for artists not from those four countries

Matt Rice: I wonder if any African artists will ever make it in.

Ryan Gibbs: Technically Freddie Mercury is the only one (he was born in Zanzibar). I will be very mad if the next African artist inducted is Dave Matthews

Matt Rice: Hahaha. Franco, Tabu Ley Rochereau, and Youssou N’Dour are all major parts of my personal rock canon.

Ryan Gibbs: Fela Kuti has been considered by the nomination committee before

Matt Rice: Yeah, if any African artists make it in, he’d probably be the one.

Ryan Gibbs: Anyway any thoughts on the likelihood of Kraftwerk being inducted this year? Because I have a feeling this might be their year

Matt Rice: The strength of the other nominees might make it difficult for them.


Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Previous nominations: 0
Essential songs:Kick Out the Jams” (1969), “Motor City is Burning” (1969), “Teenage Lust” (1970), “Sister Anne” (1971)

Matt Rice: They definitely belong in.

Jon Winkler: Yes, very much so.

Reagan Harrison: They have a…weird history with their political affiliations.

Ryan Gibbs: Yeah, it’s one of the best known things about them.

Reagan Harrison: Doesn’t mean their music isn’t great, though.

Jon Winkler: Wayne Kramer is an exceptional guitarist.

Ryan Gibbs: They should have been on the ballot years ago. I have a funny feeling Tom Morello was responsible for pushing them through this year.

Jon Winkler: One of the early punk bands with a message.

Reagan Harrison: Most definitely.

Ryan Gibbs: Thoughts on the likelihood of their induction?

Matt Rice: If they decide to just choose one punk band, they might be the most likely choice.

Jon Winkler: I’d say they have a good shot.

Reagan Harrison: People would seriously consider them so yeah.

Ryan Gibbs: Yeah, I think they have a chance too.


Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Photo credit: Glen E. Friedman

Previous nominations: First time eligible
Essential songs:Alive” (1991), “Jeremy” (1991), “Yellow Ledbetter” (1992), “Better Man” (1994)

Matt Rice: They’re the one choice everyone’s pretty certain about, right?

Jon Winkler: Obviously.

Ryan Gibbs: Uh huh.

Jon Winkler: And they deserve it.

Ryan Gibbs: Exactly the kind of huge name that the Hall waits for.

Jon Winkler: They fill out all the check marks: influence, work ethic, success, talent.

Ryan Gibbs: They’re such a foregone conclusion that, if I had a ballot, I wouldn’t even vote for them. Other acts would need my vote more than such a sure-fire choice. Not to take away from Pearl Jam’s obvious and plentiful accomplishments of course.

Reagan Harrison: I wish we had this much choice in the presidential election as we do nominations.

Jon Winkler: The question is will they show up to accept it.

Ryan Gibbs: Oh yeah they’ll show up, easy. Eddie Vedder’s given a few incredibly well received induction speeches already for Ramones and R.E.M.

Jon Winkler: Yeah, for other people, not so much themselves. And they indicted Neil Young too, and infamously called out Ticketmaster at the ceremony.

Reagan Harrison: The media seems to be stressing over whether they’ll show up.

Ryan Gibbs: I get what you’re saying. Since the R.E.M. induction, the induction dinner has kind of become a “thing.” Like it’s an HBO event now

Jon Winkler: Indeed.

Ryan Gibbs: That kind of room isn’t Pearl Jam’s scene, but I don’t see why they wouldn’t show if they were inducted.The MC5 on the other hand, if inducted, that’s the band that won’t show up. Never mind the fact that most of the MC5 are dead.


Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Previous nominations: 0
Essential songs:Born to Be Wild” (1968), “The Pusher” (1968), “Magic Carpet Ride” (1968), “Rock Me” (1969)

Reagan Harrison: I mean, I like them, but did they have enough hits? (Not that that constitutes anything but it does hold some weight)

Ryan Gibbs: I’m not one to decry “X band should be here instead of Y band”. I believe we should take nominees as they are and only compare them to the other nominees. But come on, this should have been The Monkees’ spot instead.

Matt Rice: I was thinking when we were talking about Chic, should there be a HOF for artists who had one or two major songs, that way more disco artists could be celebrated? And Steppenwolf would fit into that sort of category. “Born to Be Wild” is still a hard rock masterpiece for me. But nothing else they did even came close.

Ryan Gibbs: Some people got mad at us last year for what we said about Deep Purple, so I should be careful about this, but man Steppenwolf’s nomination is what I thought about Deep Purple’s tenfold. Deep Purple, I’m not mad they’re finally in. They were a solid inductee in hindsight. But Steppenwolf? Feels more dubious.

Jon Winkler: They were a fun enough 60s rock band but noting entirely memorable outside of “Born to be Wild” and “Magic Carpet Ride”

Ryan Gibbs: I just don’t see what puts Steppenwolf over the top. I don’t think they have a solid chance at being inducted, either.

Matt Rice: Are there any artists who are only major for one song that should be in the HOF? Or does it require a tighter legacy than that?

Ryan Gibbs: Percy Sledge is in. Technically Ritchie Valens is in for basically three songs

Matt Rice: I love Percy beyond “When a Man Loves a Woman,” but if any single song can get somebody into the Hall, it’s probably that one. Ritchie is such a “what if?” artist. Buddy Holly had a terrific recording career in the years he was a performer, while The Big Bopper had one great song and likely wouldn’t have done much afterwards. But Ritchie Valens could have done so much.

Ryan Gibbs: True, Valens was only a recording artist for under a year. and we’re comparing him to Steppenwolf, who had a longer career than that

Reagan Harrison: Steppenwolf aren’t memorable enough to me. If “Born To Be Wild” is their only contribution, I don’t think it’s enough

Ryan Gibbs: Well, there’s also “Magic Carpet Ride”. Any thoughts on their chances?

Reagan Harrison: Don’t think they’re looking too hot.

Jon Winkler: Unlikely.

Matt Rice: I don’t think they have much of a chance. Unless people vote for them for coining “heavy metal.”

Ryan Gibbs: With a ballot this strong, I don’t think they’re getting in.


Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Previous nominations: First time eligible
Essential recordings:Brenda’s Got a Baby” (1991),  “I Get Around” (1993), “Dear Mama” (1995), “California Love” (1995)

Jon Winkler: I’m a Biggie fan myself.

Matt Rice: Yeah, Tupac is not a personal favorite for me at all. But he should be in the HOF.

Reagan Harrison: Since this is the first year he’s eligible and being a rapper I feel like he’ll make it. Plus people love him which doesn’t hurt

Ryan Gibbs: He’d be the first solo rapper to be inducted.

Jon Winkler: I think for his help putting West Coast map on the map, he should go in.

Ryan Gibbs: The Hall has been skittish about inducting rappers, but I think Tupac might get in in one go.

Reagan Harrison: It seems like it to me.


Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Previous nominations: 2
Essential recordings:Your Move” (1971), “Roundabout” (1971), “And You and I” (1972), “Owner of a Lonely Heart” (1983)

Jon Winkler: Are they even that interesting?

Ryan Gibbs: Yes, they are! Pun intended. I think Yes are an excellent band and they have an outside chance of getting in.

Jon Winkler: I mean I love “Owner of a Lonely Heart” but that doesn’t even sound like a Yes song compared to their earlier work, which I never found too interesting.

Ryan Gibbs: Even their longer stuff was more accessible than, say, Emerson Lake & Palmer. All 8+ minutes of “Roundabout” are very catchy

Reagan Harrison: Their earlier albums have some depth to them. 90125, the album that has “Owner of a Lonely Heart”, was later, in 1983

Ryan Gibbs: Like I mentioned, the Rock Hall already listed the members who would be inducted. Neither of the Buggles would be inducted as members of Yes Which is understandable I suppose, but it would have been cool for Trevor Horn to get in somehow.

Reagan Harrison: It would’ve been

Ryan Gibbs: Any thoughts on their chances this year?

Reagan Harrison: I don’t really see a difference since last year, but I can hope there’s room for them

Matt Rice: They might make it in as a prog pick. But we’ve already determined several artists who will probably make it in, so I don’t see them as having a great chance.

Ryan Gibbs: Right. That’s why I hope there’s more than five inductees this year.


Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Previous nominations: 1
Essential recordings: She’s Not There” (1964), “Tell Her No” (1964), “Care of Cell 44” (1967), “Time of the Season” (1968)

Matt Rice: Odessey and Oracle is an amazing album.

Ryan Gibbs: The Hall loves to nominate 60’s British bands, and The Zombies aren’t  a bad choice at this point. They were also central to one of the most fascinating pieces of music journalism this year.

Reagan Harrison: They’re a solid group and a solid nomination, unlike some of the other ones who tend to be weaker or much stronger.

Ryan Gibbs: They’re one of many bands I think have an outside shot of getting in.

Final Thoughts

Ryan Gibbs: What did you think of this year’s choices, overall?

Matt Rice: Much better than last year’s.

Reagan Harrison: The choices are a very good mixture. I didn’t see any particular one that stood out to me, but in general are pretty great!

Matt Rice: More diverse, and none of the artists are really infuriating, although a couple are questionable.

Jon Winkler: Good collection, the hall should focus on the oddball picks.

Ryan Gibbs: I’m happy the Hall is picking esoteric candidates now. Now for them to get some of them in…

Our picks if we had a ballot

Jon Winkler: Bad Brains, The Cars, Electric Light Orchestra, Janet Jackson, Pearl Jam

Matt Rice: Bad Brains, Chic, Janet Jackson, MC5, Joe Tex

Reagan Harrison: The Cars, Chaka Khan, Journey, Tupac Shakur, Yes

Ryan Gibbs: Chic, Electric Light Orchestra, Janet Jackson, Kraftwerk, Yes

What are your thoughts on this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees? Let us know in the comments!


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